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Almost Genius: An Umbrella With Built-in Cup Holder

My hand! It buuuuurns! It buuuuuuuuurnnnnnns!!!

Jung-Woo Lee Umbrella

We really wanted to love Jung-Woo Lee’s umbrella for Ek Design. At a glance, it’s got the whiff of genius. If you’ve ever walked through a city holding an umbrella, you’ve probably thought that the truly annoying thing about rain is all the contortions created by having one hand totally occupied: You drop something, but your two hands are full. So you cradle your umbrella between your cheek and your clavicle. And whoosh! The wind takes your umbrella, and all of the sudden, it’s like you’re in some god-awful scene in a Cathy cartoon.

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Umbrella with cup holder

So it’s pretty clever to have an umbrella that could free up one hand during your morning pilgrimage with your coffee. But let’s roll back a second. What happens when a gust of wind kicks up? I’ll tell you what happens: Your shirt’s ruined, your hand is burning, and you’re cursing the well-meaning but misguided Jung-Woo Lee. Since your coffee flew into the thick necked bruiser next to you, he’s kicked your ass, to boot. So you’re wet, black and blue, angry, you smell like coffee–which you haven’t been able to consume yet. And then someone comes by and says, “Wow, cool umbrella–is that a cup holder?”

What’s up with angle of the cup holder anyway? Are you supposed to drink the coffee immediately? Or is this thing only meant for the Morton Salt girl?

About the author

Cliff is director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.

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